27. National Poll On Healthy Aging
Another study was used to examine the mental health benefits of owning a dog. It looked specifically at older individuals, at a total of 2,000 adults between the ages of 50 and 80. More than half of participants owned pets; of those who owned pets, around 80% reported that their companions helped reduce their stress level. Pet owners who claimed to live alone and to be in poor health benefited as well: 70% of them stated that their animals helped them cope with both mental and physical symptoms.
Be warned though: pets, dogs especially, are hard work, and their care should not be taken lightly. Elderly individuals should only consider a dog if they are physically capable of keeping up with the demands of the pet.